Hi, my name is__ and I’m a phone addict.

Imagine having the will power to break free from your phone addiction. Maybe you haven’t really thought about how often you’re fully immersed in your phone. However, it’s worth thinking about.  Some of us didn’t grow up with phones, or with computers or WiFi – imagine that!  However, these days we find ourselves hunched our shoulders, gazing into a little computer, taking little notice of our surroundings. We’re missing out on so much!

There’s a new addiction in town, and it’s changing the way we think and feel. It’s impacting our lives in ways we haven’t fully realized yet and it’s kind of scary.   We see it in ourselves and feel the pull to take a look at our phones frequently, yet we don’t know how to stop ourselves from doing that. What’s worse is how addicted the kids are to their devices.

Kids are growing up with their faces stuck in iPads and iPhones – playing games and following virtual strangers.  They’re being influenced by more people than their family and friends. When kids hang out, most of the time they’re all staring at a screen.  Adults keep telling them to go outside and play but they won’t.  We even ask them why they aren’t having a face to face conversation with one another.  Yet they just shrug and keep looking down.  Studies find that kids these days are more sedentary and alone. Therefore, their mental and emotional health is being compromised. 

When I was young we had to make our own fun, and sometimes we just had to deal with being uncomfortable.

Kids today are so uncomfortable with stillness and afraid of boredom that they aren’t developing resiliency.  Creatively, they’re challenged and just don’t know how to make their own fun. Why should they when it’s available to them 24/7 with the click of a button?

As social animals we are meant to talk and play with one another!

Connecting to people in real time is what truly makes us happy. Yet they don’t know how to do that anymore.There’s even a new term for a social practice which isn’t social at all – phubbingPhubbing means snubbing a person in favour of their phone. These habits are impacting kids’ relationship satisfaction and causing an increase of depression and alienation.  No wonder there’s a rise of anxiety in young people today.  When they spend so much time engaging with inanimate objects which can’t smile, talk, or make them feel seen – they wind up feeling more alone. 

Click below to read a fascinating New York Times article about a reporter who challenges himself to disconnect from his devices. He wants to engage in his life more and realizes that he’s addicted to technology.  A counsellor helps him set up mental speed bumps to reprogram him to be more present in his life. When he starts to lift his head up to take in his world he actually feels better.  He feels more engaged in his life and connected to the people around him.  He even enjoys the calm of reading an actual paper book! Imagine that.

When it comes down to it, we’re all craving connection. Kids need connection to develop properly.  Yet, our electronics might not fulfill our social and emotional needs like we wish they would.  So, put the devices down, and have a good, old fashioned talk with the kids. Give them what they need to be seen and really heard in their world. This will make all of the difference to them and to you. We are addicted but we can do something about it!

Read more: How I Ditched my Phone and Unbroke my Brain

 

Jodi Derkson, MEd
FOUNDER OF !MPERATIVE EDUCATION

After attending UBC and earning her degrees, Jodi taught full-time for over ten years in the public school system creating student-centered curricula to guide her students towards a more knowledgeable and loving view of themselves and others. Jodi introduced topics of bullying, discrimination, mindfulness and positive relationship habits into her classes and celebrated students’ achievements as if they were her own.

 

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